Are You Living in Faith or in Fear?
Have you ever seen a newborn baby sleeping? They are so tiny, so helpless, and when they close their eyes and fall asleep, they are the epitome of peace. Quiet and content, they seem to disappear from this world and enter another, with the full faith that everything will be OK until they return.
It’s so counterintuitive, because as humans we are at our most vulnerable when we’re newborns. We can’t move much. We can’t defend ourselves. We can’t even speak in a way that older humans can understand. It would seem that as newborns, that’s when we would be most not at peace.
So why isn’t it like that? What does that little baby know? They’ve just arrived to start their human experience. Is there still a connection to “somewhere else” which enables them to be so at peace? Do they not know fear? Is it that they feel tremendously loved? Are they connected to an inner power of joy or possess and innate feeling of happiness?
As an adult, we would seem to have so much more going for us. If there’s a threat we can run. If we can’t run, we can fight. We can call for help and are likely to receive it. Given that, shouldn’t we as adults be the ones experiencing deep peace? It would seem like it. But that hardly feels like the case.
So how do we find inner peace?
How do we close our eyes, fall asleep, and feel completely at peace at night? And is it possible to hold that feeling of peace even when we’re awake?
Peace is calm. A confidence. It’s a knowingness at a very deep level. Beyond a hoping, or a believing, it’s a genuine knowing that everything is OK, and will continue to be OK. It’s faith.
The fork in the road we stand at with peace is whether we choose to live in faith, or in fear. Because it’s impossible to live in both at the same time.
The opposite of this is fear. The not knowing.
So in essence, the fork in the road we stand at with peace is whether we choose to live in faith, or in fear. Because it’s impossible to live in both at the same time.
I believe there’s another fork in the road associated with this. It’s a question of where we came from before we were born, and where we go after the human experience. There are two obvious potential realities. The first is that our parents had sex and nine months later we were born. We will live out our lives, and when our last breath is exhaled, that will be it. There’s no afterlife, we don’t come back in any way, we’re just dead. These minutes of the human experience are all we’ll get and when it’s over, it’s over.
On the other side of the fork is the belief that we are more than our physical forms. That we have a consciousness which transcends the physical form. It’s the entity which asks, “Who am I?” and understands that the question is coming from something other than our brain or some other part of our physical body.
If the more accurate answer to these two possibilities is the first one, then we might as well maximize every moment of our life. This is it. There’s no second chance. When we’re done, we’re done. Might as well be fearless, courageous, adventurous, and bold. Might as well find our happiness, try the things we want to try, be authentically ourselves, and live the life we want to live. And we might as well be at peace as we’re doing it.
But what if the more accurate answer is actually the other side of the fork. We are something before we’re born. A spirit, a soul, an energy of some kind. We temporarily enter the human form to experience life as a human. Then when the human form dies, we go back to being whatever we were before.
Well, if that’s the case we might as well let go of our fears. This is just a temporary state we’re in. Perhaps we should enjoy the opportunity. Might as well find our happiness, try the things we want to try, be authentically ourselves, and live the life we want to live. And we might as well be at peace as we’re doing it, knowing that whatever happens here, when it’s done, we go back to our other state.
The way in which these two very different possibilities for how life works, actually parallel each other, is a life changing realization. Hopefully enough of a realization that if you’re struggling to live in a state of inner peace, you’ll let yourself think about it for a while. Not just once, but each time you feel yourself in a state of fear and wanting to be in peace.
Peace Is a Trait You Can Practice and Develop
As a personal life habit and joy enhancing practice, feel free to give peace a try. Literally, try it. Start with a minute. Maybe first thing in the morning, or in the last moment of your day when you’re about to fall asleep. Allow yourself to think in your mind, “Everything is alright. And everything will continue to be alright.” You can even say it out loud if you want. Try this for a week. Just one minute a day. See how it makes you feel. If you want, you can gently breath in on the first sentence, and slowly exhale on the second. This feels very peaceful.
As crazy as it might sound, don’t be surprised if you find the corners of your mouth turning up as you say the two sentences. You’re also likely to feel a centeredness kind of wash over you. You’ll feel your heart, too. Perhaps the feelings of joy and happiness there, or just an awareness in that part of your body.
The fact that all this happens just from saying two sentences is really intriguing. It’s almost like the body and maybe the consciousness are saying, “Hey, you got it! You’re right. That’s truth. Glad you remembered.”
Experiencing peace, even for just a minute per day, can remind our minds and bodies how good it feels.
When you’ve mastered this over the course of your week, it’s up to you what to do next. You can allow yourself to say it once a week when you feel fear. If that goes well you can try twice a week. If you like the way it feels to say it once in the morning or at night, feel free to try saying it both times. If that goes well, in a few weeks, try saying it twice instead of once. Maybe make it part of your personal mantra practice.
Our minds and our bodies get very used to different states. Experiencing peace, even for just a minute per day, can remind our minds and bodies how good it feels. Which inspires us to look for more of it.
This can get us looking into the ways we are impacted by our environments. Maybe the reason babies can sleep in such peace, is because they don’t have smart phones. The phones can be great for capturing special moments with the camera, talking to friends, getting directions…. Depending on what we’re reading, they can also provide a never-ending supply of fear, uncertainty and stress. Story after story of some tragedy, act of hate, or form of cruelty.
It used to be that we’d be exposed to a limited supply of this simply because there’s only so much of that which happens in a small geographical location. Now though, the events of the world can all be gathered instantly and when you have that many possibilities, it’s easy to find enough to keep filling news feeds with fear-based content.
It’s tough to feed our minds with that, and also be at peace. We can stay functional. Not really at peace though. The fantastic thing is that disconnecting from the fear-based content of the day, provides another opportunity for peace. Because if we’re not looking at that, then what are we doing with our down time? All those minutes of the day will need to be spent on something. Otherwise, we’d be sitting in boredom.
It’s here that the game gets even more fascinating. Maybe we find content which provides us with a different energy. Happiness, contentment, fulfillment, or purpose. Podcasts which make us laugh. Websites which provide short stories about topics which we find really interesting, like ancient Egyptian artifacts, growing organic foods, or any of a thousand other topics that bring joyful moments.
Now we’re moving into personal choice. We’re going back to that fork in the road and thinking, that no matter which of those two options is right, we might as well live an amazing life. Which brings us to the question, “So what is an amazing life for me?”
Peace comes through an absence of fear.
We’ve talked about that. It also comes with certainty. Knowing for sure the direction we want our life to go is one of the most powerful things possible for bringing calmness, confidence, and tranquility in our lives. When we’re not certain, the ongoing ambiguity causes our minds to be ever on the alert. Every moment requires intense analysis and contemplation. Hesitation, uncertainty, and doubt run rampant in our thoughts.
Knowing for sure the direction we want our life to go is one of the most powerful things possible for bringing calmness, confidence, and tranquility in our lives.
A peaceful baby which becomes a stress laden adult is an example of this. On some level, the certainty and tranquility gets replaced with uncertainty and associated fear.
As a supporting practice to giving peace a try, allow yourself to give certainty a try. This means permitting yourself to discover what makes you feel fulfilled. Then living that life. You can start with one minute per day. That way no matter which of those forks in the road is actually right, either this is all there is, or its merely a temporary excursion along the way, you’ll feel content in how you’re spending the precious minutes of your existence.
We don’t fear dying. What we fear is getting to the end of our life and realizing we haven’t lived.
In my book, The Cafe on the Edge of the World, one of the characters shares that, “We don’t fear dying. What we fear is getting to the end of our life and realizing we haven’t lived.” Knowing with certainty the paths in life we want to walk, and then walking them, brings peace to our lives for this very reason. Because we can’t fear not having the chance to do something…if we’ve already done it.
Wishing you some very special moments of peace.
John Strelecky is the author of the #1 Bestselling The Cafe on the Edge of the World and Big Five for Life series of books. Subscribe to this blog to learn more about his works, and about discovering your love of life.